MY CURRENT SUMMER SHOPPING LIST

MY CURRENT SUMMER SHOPPING LIST

It’s quickly heating up here so it’s time for a wardrobe change. I wanted to drop by and share my current summer shopping list.  I know many of you have been requesting summer dress recommendations and hot crop top options — hopefully, this little list can be a great starting point. It also gives you more insight into where I shop!

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5 Boutiques You Must Visit For the Perfect Gifts

Hello Lovely,

Mother's Day is approaching VERY quickly! And now that we're all adults, it's time to get a GOOD gift! No more macaroni art, bring in actual jewellery bought in a store. But not just any store. You want something unique, yet cost effective. Sometimes it can be hard to find the perfect gift for the perfect price. So today I'm sharing for all of my local readers and anyone planning on vacationing here soon, the 5 best boutiques that I visiting when searching for the perfect gift.

The Billie Shop

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The Billie Shop is not where you go for a basic gift. This boutique is located in Old Fort Bay Clubhouse just before you get to their little beach. It's in a tiny hut that has the best island life feeling. The items are not original Bahamian pieces, but they're very nice; the kind of things you would find on Instagram. I instantly fell in love with all of the colours. The bright clothing and Beachwood furniture really draw you in It's mostly swimwear, cover-ups, floaties and candles but I did manage to find some alcohol infused candy as the perfect gift for my bestie Krista.

Bottom Line: Don't go to this store unless you're willing to spend at least $100. The candy was $31 for three 2 oz. boxes of candy ($11 each: literally the cheapest thing in the store). The gift box was lovely, so I think most of the cost went into packaging.

Bahama Hand Prints

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I love the idea of Bahama Hand Prints! I say the idea because while everything is absolutely gorgeous the price tag is rather high. I haven't reached the point in my life where I feel like I can spend over $200 on a sundress but there's a reason they're so costly. Bahama Hand Prints makes their own fabric on site! That's right, there's a backroom off from the fabric room (yes you can by the fabrics and make your own dress or whatever you fancy) where they make the fabric. Some would argue it should be cheaper if they're cutting out the middle man and producing their own fabric but that can be a rather costly task.

Bottom Line: This store is perfect for gifts for the fashionista or home maker in your life. There's wonderful napkins and other linens, handbags, napkin rings and more. The best part, it's 100% Bahamian.

The Craft Cottage

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Another 100% Bahamian craft store perfect for gifts is The Craft Cottage. I LOVE the Craft Cottage. It's an eclectic mix of items made by Bahamians. I once bought a conch shell bowl with a spoon for only $25. I have yet to use mine but I hope the person I gave it to really enjoyed it. I also absolutely love my pink Army Men earrings I got for only $6. That was years ago so you're not going to find that any more. That's what I love about this store, everything is essentially one of a kind and once it's gone, that's it! There's a constant flow of new items to choose from so it never gets dull.

Bottom Line: When you want an authentic Bahamian souvenir that does more than just sit on a fridge, this is the place to go! The owners are SUPER SWEET making this the BEST shopping experience on this list. If they don't have something you want they'll call around and find a store that does have it.

Dake's Shoppe

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Dake’s Shoppe opened in November of 2015 on Harbour Island, Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Dake’s Shoppe is a very personally-curated department store operating in a restored historic home on Crowne Street in the heart of Dunmore Town. They are located between Piggly Wiggly and Arthur's Bakery in a white building with red trim. I've never personally been there, but they have been recommended. 

Bottom Line: This is a high end store. The kind that sells camisoles for $66. If this is your style, this is the store for you.

Shop It Sparkles

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I recently discovered Shop It Sparkles from my friend Nikki Jae when she was looking to buy the hat in the bottom right photo. I'm really impressed with their options and they're prices are great! This is where you go if you're looking for a gift for the trendy person in your life. Fashion, mugs, water bottles, these are the things you will find at Shop It Sparkles.

Bottom Line: I can't wait to buy that mug to replace my travel mug that broke. And I've got my eye on a few other things as well. I'll keep you guys updated through my Instagram on how that goes.

HOLD UP! DON'T GO YET!

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While you're shopping don't forget to check out this new online store I just discovered called Old English. They have really cool enamel pins and a competition going on right now for you win some! I can't wait to share my favourite picks from this website with you guys!

How to Make Mindful Purchases

How to Make Mindful Purchases

Living a life with intention means being more thoughtful when it comes to making decisions. Making mindful purchases can mean less buyers remorse. I can't tell you how many things I bought on a whim that I really didn't need but in my impulsive moment, thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. So recently, I made a more conscious effort to make more mindful purchases. I’m going to do this by following these 3 steps:

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Friday Favourites: The Christmas Gift That Cost Me $400

Hello lovely,

This is the first Christmas in two years that I'll be home. I spent that past two years with my now ex-boyfriend in Miami (not so secretly wishing we could be somewhere colder). I had hopes of travelling somewhere snowy this year but when those plans didn't work out, I decided to find another way to treat myself this year. At first I thought I wanted a tablet for blogging on the go but when I looked at the cost, given the tech specs I would want, it just wasn't a worthy investment, because I really wouldn't use it that often. I already bought myself the Google home, which really works better in pairs and with connected devices, so that area was covered. And after lowering my credit card bill, I was only reasonably left with about $200 if I wanted to spend wisely.

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While putting together the Gift Guides, I was browsing the home & kitchen section of Amazon when it stood out to me and I knew instantly what I had to get myself for Christmas: The Ninja Coffee Bar System. Everyone knows how much I love coffee. So much so I bought about 7lbs of it when I went to Europe this summer. I had seen the commercials and always wanted it so I figured after the ups and downs 2017 has brought me, I deserved this doggonit! I spent $220 BSD on the initial purchase on Saturday 2nd December and picked it up from Xpress-it this past Wednesday, but of course it wasn't that easy. Like the post says, this gift costs me FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS!

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The price tag to bring it in to The Bahamas after customs, VAT and freight was $185.03, bringing the grand total of this ONE ITEM to $405! I couldn't believe it. I expected the freight price but completely forgot about the customs tax. I was heart broken, but I was also already $220 in the hole, so I had to pay the price.

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So was it worth it?

I told an old friend last night that I spent $400 on a coffee maker and she was like, "You mean a person right? Like someone who will actually come to your house and make the coffee for you?" I joked that if my mum wanted tea, she'd better make it with this machine instead of the kettle and we would make soup in this if we had to, to make me feel better about the price tag. Because it's still new, I haven't had time to really play around with it yet, but I did brew iced coffee with it this morning. I made enough for my travel mug pictured above and it was great! There's definitely a different flavour with this machine as it really tastes like something I would've bought in a coffeehouse. I also used my frother for the first time today and had a lot of fun with it. Yesterday I used the Cafe Forte just to see what it would be like (it's really strong).

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So far I love using it! I can't wait to tackle all of the recipes in the recipe book that came with it! The best part of the machine is how easy it is to use. I skimmed the manual, but it really is a straight forward process. I love setting it to automatically brew in the morning and I love that I can brew directly into my mug. I even got a new mug from one of my alumni associations that I can't wait to start using. It's a gorgeous red, just in time for the holidays! I can't wait to start making frappes and sharing the recipes with you guys.

How are you treating yourself this Christmas season? Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Do you think I spent too much on just a coffee maker? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Merry Christmas! 

The Best Labour Day Sales to Shop

Hello Lovely,

It’s Labour Day Weekend and do you know what that means? Awesome sales and deals. It seems like school just started and the kids are already out on holiday again. It's not a holiday for us in the Bahamas (we already had our Labour Day) but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the multitude of sales around the web. It’s the perfect time to stock up on your fall wardrobe any back to school supplies you may have missed and Halloween items. You can find some great deals on Labour Day, especially on mattresses, appliances, and travel. If you’re looking for ways to make it through the long weekend without the stress or simply want some back-pocket savings strategies, we’ve got you covered:

LABOUR DAY WEEKEND SALES

Below, I’ve rounded up some of the best stores online and their awesome deals this Labour Day Weekend.  If you need sales info, I got you, friend!

1. Neiman Marcus at Last Call

Up to 75% off Neiman Marcus? Um yes please! I usually ignore any sale that says "Up to" because you almost never get the full discount offered but there are some items that are worth it. Like embroidered mesh tops, trapeze dresses and cardigans for $30 or less.

2. Overstock.com

With home decor as low as $6, you don't want to miss this sale. 

3. EHarmony

While I'm personally done with online dating, if you're still trying to find that perfect match, why not try eharmony? Sign up is free and you can message anyone for free throughout the Labour Day weekend. Just know that photos are not included.

4. Shoedazzle

With 50% off sitewide, it's hard to resist this one! Now is the time to stock up on all of those boots and booties you were eyeing for Fall.

5. JustFab

Shoedazzle's cousin is also having 50% off your entire order. Ladies and gentlemen, what are you waiting on?

6. H&M

I haven't support H&M much because the sizing can be a real pain, but if you like to shop there, they have up to 60% off and free shipping with deals as low as $4. These items include socks and camisoles, with chokers, makeup bags, small shoulder bags and earrings sets starting at $5.

7. JcPenny

It doesn't get any better than this sale! I love shopping at JcPenny. The deals are great special financing and steep discounts on furniture and appliances.

Whole Foods Recap: A Highlight for the Foodie Who’s Natural at Heart

Hello Lovely,

Known for its wide selection of natural and organic ingredients including seeds, kernels and rice (available in easy to use dispensers), Whole Foods has become a household name amongst those looking for clean, healthy eating and living.  Hearing about it from friends and also viewing it on many episodes of Top Chef (they purchase most grocery items from there), I’ve long awaited my visit to this infamous brand.  During my Miami trip, I was elated to know that there was Whole Foods in walking distance.  I walked through the front door, took a deep breath and inhaled the smell of fresh, organic flavors. I was warmly greeted by the wide selection of colourful, bright flowers that awakened the store.  These connected to me so greatly that I purchased a small bouquet of Football Moms (this is the actual name of the flower, crazy right?? :) ) to brighten my room. I first noticed the area where a selection of rice, beans, peas and quinoa was located.  It was the second busiest area of the store (the food area was the first) as persons eagerly filled bags of garden-fresh items. I was fascinated with the variety and did my best to manoeuvre out of the way of anxious patrons.  I also really appreciated the three types of honey that were also available for persons to purchase the exact amount needed.   I’ve always liked the snack bars made by Kashi Go Lean and those as well as other brands were available at $1.49, the La Terra Brand chips were two for $6.99 and they even had meat bars! The main ingredients Bison, Venison, Chicken, Beef and Turkey with infused flavors of Thai, cranberry, rosemary, etc.  I purchased two Wagyu Beef and Chicken but after two bites of the beef, I sincerely regretted it.  This proved that fresh is always better!

The food selection was amazing with dishes from around the world: Eggplant Parmesan, Lo Mein, Lasagna, Lobster Bisque, etc. I tried the spinach, rosemary cake stuffed with blue cheese and it was surprisingly filling for such a small size. I also liked their desserts including select vegan and gluten free items.  I purchased a carrot cake cupcake which was moist and tasty without being too sweet.  The natural soaps were pricey but had an amazing scent which flowed through the aisle.  

I respect what the Whole Foods brand stands for, their ideal for quality, organic products, how they value their customers and seek to only provide the best.  With positive posters and statements throughout the store, one can’t resist feeling appreciated.  Although I didn’t get to explore the store as much as I wanted to , I’m glad that I experienced the visit.  

P.S.The flowers added a touch of elegance and brightness to my room and fit perfectly in the accompanying mason jar.

What’s your Whole Foods highlight?  Have you tried their vegan desserts? Tell us your recommendation for my next Whole Foods visit.

XoX,

Our Christmas Wishlist

Our Christmas Wishlist

The Life By Olivia team shares their Christmas Wishlist for the upcoming holidays. Is there anything on our list that you now want to add to yours? Or maybe there's something you're dying to get that should be on our list!The Life By Olivia team shares their Christmas Wishlist for the upcoming holidays. Is there anything on our list that you now want to add to yours? Or maybe there's something you're dying to get that should be on our list!

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